Blog Image

Richard Brooks - Reflective Journal

About the Artist RWB Journal

My work is informed by my personal faith, sense of vulnerability, bereavement, and, my personal experience.

My practice centres on addressing social justice issues of the human condition. I avoid making work of any individual person; so that neither, is the individual stigmatised, nor is the work unduly personalised.

Since January 2012 I have used this blog as part of my reflective journal.
Included in this journal is some of my documentation of my research; the underlined text provides links to web pages etc that have formed part of my research.
The Research Visits category includes some responses to gallery visits.

Artist Statement for New Work

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, May 02, 2014 14:39:29

I have just finished drafting an artist statement for a new work “Shipping Translated”; this is a silent two channel video [duration 1h 5m 20s]. I am pleased that the total number of frames [188,160] is similar to the gross tonnage of the largest of the container ships that I observed during the making of the work.

Here is a copy of my Statement:


Shipping Translated

The global transportation of produce, goods and waste by increasingly large container ships, and containers moving around the world concealing their contents from general view, demonstrates our mutual interdependence. This includes world wide connections and connections that are not readily apparent.

This interdependence is underlined by the natural environment in which the ships operate. Both sea and sky/clouds are part of the same global water cycle. Furthermore, both are part of global systems of currents; what happens in one place has effects elsewhere.

These global (closed) systems of interconnectedness deeply resonate with three extracts from John Donne’s Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions: 17 – Meditation that influenced my making of this work:

… all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; …

… No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. …

… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind …

To underline this interconnectedness and interdependence, the entire work was recorded at the UK’s largest container port, Felixstowe, during lent 2014.


May 2014


MA show preparation

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Thu, August 08, 2013 20:23:46

It has been good to work together preparing our spaces this week, and having the opportunity to discuss our work with one another.

I wanted to make my space “holy”, set apart for a purpose. As part of my methodist spirituality I believe that things are made holy by use. This prompted me to play some sacred music, St Matthew’s Passion, Bach (in it’s entirety) as I worked, both painting on my exhibition “Games” print and in organising the room in preparation for Monday’s installation. This was premeditated, so I especially brought in the music recording and borrowed a set of good speakers from media resources.

I also found it good to explore using a noughts and crosses type grid on the floor to compliment the print and the placement of the 4 elements of the show, and also to reference the Labyrinth as a meditative/ contemplative aid. Conceptually I think it does work, but I am uncertain whether it is fully appropriate in a shared space; and I am also concerned that I might be trying to put too much in and not giving enough space for the different piece to speak for themselves and to have a conversation with one another.

Exploring the exhibition space 2013-07-04

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, July 09, 2013 22:15:41

I was pleased to be able to experiment with projection in my allocated space. I was pleased with how the projection could fill the whole wall, but I am unsure how best the projector could be housed.

It was really helpful to know my show space, I am beginning to again be able to visualise how my work might look in the show.

I am currently wrestling with projector vs LCD screen. I am trying not to be seduced by how a projection could fill and transform the space, as I would be then concerned that any other element might just appear to be a subsidiary rather than prompting the desired dialogue between the various elements.

Bishop’s Art Prize 2013

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Sun, June 02, 2013 15:45:15

I was pleased to hear this week that my work has been selected for the exhibition at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral (18 to 30 June).

On Thursday, I was relieved that the Hostry does have floor power sockets and so I have been able to use the preferred wooden box design for the low plinth in which the iPad will be installed.

For completeness I have attached a pdf of my submitted text, notes and diagrams:

It has been an interesting process to explore how to use the iPad so that the video loops, but so that it is not interrupted by the touching, inadvertent or otherwise, of the iPad; whilst facilitating straight forward daily start up and shut down of the video by the invigilators. I am looking forward to continuing to work on this and of performing tests to this set up and composing and checking the invigilators’ instructions of the coming days.

Assimilation Games – continuing work 2013-05-03

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, May 03, 2013 14:21:50

This week I have been making some more Assimilation Games pictures.

Having reflected on the Construction Distraction show, and feedback received about it, all these images are in portrait format. I am pleased with the contradiction of showing the underlying landscape in portrait rather than landscape format.

Here are low resolution scans of the ten pictures [Assimilation Games #41 to #50] that I have made in the past week:

Construction Distraction Group show at NUA 15 to 19 April 2013

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, April 24, 2013 09:19:14

This was a very useful and positive experience – working together with 2 other MA Fine Art students, Dina & Claire. We all had our own particular concerns, things we wanted to experiment or try; and yet the show worked well together, with plenty of space to best show the works. Our work seemed to work well together and to start a further conversation.

I was able to try printing on clear adhesive vinyl that can be applied directly to the wall, as I have been impressed by a number of exhibitions at Ikon, Birmingham, where the pictures have been stuck straight on the wall.

I was pleased with the glossy clear vinyl, the detail in the images was retained and it successfully rendered the allusion of a false perspective – almost as if viewing the vista through a window on which a game of noughts and crosses had been painted with vermilion coloured acrylic paint.

I had tried printing both two grids of 20 images and one large rendition of a single image. All the painted photographs were scanned at a resolution to make prints same size as original and then I rescanned a small number at a much higher resolution so that a large print, up to size A00 could be made. This was very definitely experimental, I was doubtful how well a 10 by 15cm print would scan and print at 60cm by 90cm but I was really pleased by how well it did actually work. However I had expected the impact of the pair of grids to be greater than they were – these worked less well than I had hoped and anticipated.

It was also good to be able to try out a 58 minute video that included seascapes, chocolate milk drink, log fires in a wood-burning stove, and brief extracts of counting rice-cripsies. I was particularly pleased with how the log fires projected, with the flickering orange from the flames effecting the whole space. I received some positive feedback about the peaceful seascapes, which I found particularly encouraging as it supports my intention to make contemplative work.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, April 10, 2013 14:53:23

The last session before Easter, a group tutorial was really useful; it was both encouraging and challenging. It has stimulated much thought and reflection over the past few weeks.

I was encouraged by how my experimental work was received but challenged as to how best to present it in the final exhibition. It was also good to contemplate whether still to have the diptych[s] or to have another third element alongside the video and the vermilion painted photographs. I have also been considering the best strategy for displaying the video work[s]; it was good to have a discussion about the choice of large projected versus small higher resolution. I am still currently of the mind that a small high resolution screen, such as on a 7inch tablet would be the best, it would invite the viewer to draw in closer to the work and would contrast and complement the large number of 15cm by 10cm painted photographs. It would provide an interesting starting point with which to engage the viewer, as they are disturbed by a mass of painted photographs that subvert the a children’s game whilst apparently damaging images of places of sanctuary and refuge and then find a small screen on which are meditative video which provide a more peaceful object of contemplation.

I am thinking of making a symbolic number of such painted photographs that would provide another layer of meaning; perhaps a suitable number would be 77 as this is the number of times the Bible teaches that we should forgive the same person for wronging us in a similar way [7 itself being a symbolic number which signifies wholeness, completeness and perfection so 77 [or as in some translations 70 x 7 (i.e. 490)] really means always, or every time].

I think that it would be good if I did have a third element so that I maintained a tripartite dialogue between the works which keeps the conversation going round in a circular way rather than as an argument between just two constituent elements.

However, I have still got a broad range of ideas for this third element, it could be a diptych as originally envisioned, a video [possibly projected], or an object [or collection of objects].

The main ideas I have had for such a collection of objects are:

(a) a found disposable cup and discarded cardboard that have been used and discarded by a rough sleeper;

(b) a collection of many small items referencing the tragedy of people trafficking and forced labour.

For this latter idea I have considered rice, coffee granules, sand; but, my current preference is for rice crispies.

On closer inspection each rice crispie is different, rice is associated with the East where many trafficking victims originate from and there is the opportunity to present them in a number of ways – they are more stable than raw rice having been cooked and thus less risk of significant deterioration during the course of the exhibition. My aim is to have 27 million rice crispies, one for each person currently trapped in modern day slavery. I plan to count the number contained in a few packets and to take an average to work out how many packets I would require. This could then be either displayed in a [number of] large transparent containers &/or forming a [number of mounds]. However I realise that I might have to scale back this ambition due to space and financial constraints.

Picture Making – 2013-03-19

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 19, 2013 11:08:14

It was good to spend much of last week painting with vermilion acrylic paint on 40 selected photographs of rural and urban vista that share the theme of sanctuary, be it beautiful countryside, contemplative seascapes or known places of shelter for homeless persons.

The painting was constrained by the conceit of rules that I had imposed on myself – painting the lines of the grid in the same order and painting each line in the same direction – left to right for horizontal lines and top-down for vertical lines with the [bristle] brush strokes being repeated to provide a texture of parallel lines which were intentionally translucent to allow the detail of the photograph still to be discernible on closer inspection.

I enjoyed the resonances of the grid; the fact that it has multiple layers of referencing, – as previously stated [in my reflections on dialogues 2013] it resonates with the abstract concern with the grid and with self imposed rules of art making; it also references the grid in a camera view finder; the compositional rule of thirds; it also resonates with the contemporary preoccupation with social media and the popularity of tagging or hash tagging people, places and issues in posts; and finally it is also a reminder of the emotive power of art in the grid’s resemblance to a large musical sharp.

Over the week as I painted, first solely the grid then followed by 39 games, the pictures accumulated on the work table and I was pleased with their cumulative visual effect; it disturbed, giving dark undertones of violent incidents. It somehow speaks of suffering and the despoilment of the places of sanctuary or contemplation. I am pleased with this effect and it seems particularly poignant that it is an apparently innocent simple game that is doing the damage; this seems to me to resonate with how easily, and often unintentionally, and thoughtlessly we can fail to be good stewards of our resources, gifts and relationships. This seems to strengthen the spiritual undercurrent in my work – that we we need God’s help, inspiration, and strength to enable us to exercise good stewardship, whether or not we acknowledge it at the time and that this is made possible through the once and for all self sacrifice of Jesus.

Experiment – painting on photos (2013-03-09)

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Sat, March 09, 2013 11:31:12

I am currently doing some experimental work of painting a noughts and crosses grid and then placing O & X in turn by using numbers 1 to 9 drawn from rummikub tiles. I have decided to use the colour vermillion because of it’s resonances with blood and life. I have decided to use acrylics rather than watercolour because of its permanence and to avoid the resonance and reference of traditional spotting and colouring of photographs.

Video Work

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, March 01, 2013 11:13:34

It has been good to review the videos I have made since the hand in for the last unit. This was partly in preparation for last weeks tutorial but I have subsequently further reviewed the work to date. This has led me to conduct further experimentation using music with the visuals.

I have now decided to publish this work in progress on youtube, contained in a single playlist. This will be regularly updated with more footage and versions as I continue to investigate using music and other audio.

I have decided to use vimeo to publish my resolved works in due course.

2013-01-26 pop up show: “Paradise Part II to VI”

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Sat, January 26, 2013 15:47:08

I was really pleased with how it went this morning – well worth all the hard work. I have attached below a PDF copy of the Exhibition leaflet for ease of reference:

In addition here are the three videos that were being screened at the exhibition:

Paradise Part III – Paradise Circus: Home Sweet Home (2010)

Paradise Part IV – Coronation Anthem Number 1: The Royal Estate (2011)

Alternative Link for “The Royal Estate

Paradise Part VI – Assimilation 2 (2012)

Pop Up Show – Tomorrow

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, January 25, 2013 13:32:10

It has been exciting to work on this show; making decisions about work and installation and taking into account the location [Landseer Road Methodist Church and Schoolroom].

It has satisfying to spend time working out the installation and ascertaining the most apposite works for the event.

[The show is part of the weekend events for Poverty & Homelessness Action Week and although the show is on Saturday morning the works will remain on view for the Sunday morning service which is also focussing on homelessness. On Saturday morning there will also be hot drinks available, for a voluntary donation to the Ipswich Winter Night Shelter (IWNS) and the opportunity to donate new adult socks and toiletries for the IWNS (any surplus will be forwarded to the Ipswich Umbrella Trust).]

Yesterday it was good to make a number of reprints for exhibition at the show.

Here is a selection of the works that will be in the show:

From Paradise Part 2 (2010):

From The Royal Estate (2011):

From Assimilation 2 (2012):

In addition some video works will also be shown.

Continuing experimental work

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, January 22, 2013 08:10:49


Made using web based resources to explore ways of documenting frequent regular videos. I also had a further exploration with using sound which this time seems more effective, as well as different framing etc.

If you can not view the above embedded flash video, here is the link:

Picture Making – 2012-11-13

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, November 13, 2012 20:43:56

It has been good to be able to concentrate on making new pictures today and then subsequently reviewing and organising the pictures and making initial minor adjustments before selecting the preferred photograph for each vista.

– in the morning I worked in an urban environment wandering as a flaneur particularly observing evidence of where the homeless had taken shelter

– in the afternoon I worked on the coast to observe the beautiful pre dusk light on the beach

I am still exploring how best to select and present such contrasting vistas as dyptichs; which juxtapose the fragility of the human condition [including the issues of inequity] with the sublime landscape. As I reflect I am reminded of how easy it is to be distracted by one and not have due regard for the other.

Assimilation Video

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Mon, November 12, 2012 11:21:03

I have continued to work on the video of the chocolate malted drink powder being absorbed into the hot milk; each observed happening has continued to be unique.

I have made a number of video sketches using a small compact camera on a tripod. I have also been pleased to be able to make a couple of higher quality videos using equipment borrowed from NUCA.

I have selected two contrasting instances to run consecutively in one video. I have now posted a lower resolution copy of this online. [A photographic still from the video is shown below:]

As I continued to reflect on the videos I became aware of some resonances with the student prize winners of the Jerwood Drawing 2010 prize, James Eden and Olly Rooks Burst video of graphite filled burst balloons where the intervention by the artist was limited to the positioning the paper, filling and bursting the balloon and recording the series of happenings. [This was a puzzling, intriguing piece that has remained with me since I first viewed it at the Fitzwilliam in February as part of the Grey Matters: Graphite show].

At present the my Assimilation video is silent which seems to aid the contemplative mood as it avoids potential distractions of audio; however, I also keep finding myself considering using audio to add a juxtaposition to the work and in particular I am attracted by the effect of having a soundscape of the sea on a shingle beach could have on the work. If I were able to have the sound through speakers rather than headphones I think that this soundscape could tie together the different elements of my MA show so that the audio would be the backdrop against which the photographic video and the diptych[s] would be encountered. I decided to experiment using audio.

Having now spent sometime experimenting with using sound and discussing the effects, I have found that unless the sound is at a very low volume it is indeed a source of significant distraction. I have also found that by not having the sound it allows more space for the viewer to bring their own thoughts and layers of meaning to the work, indeed this can include an imaginary audio element [such as the sound of bubbles popping] which providing a real tangible soundscape prevents and can make the work less engaging and contemplative – which is the opposite to my intention. I have thus now decided not to have an audio element to this piece.

Exploratory work

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, October 23, 2012 12:06:38

It has been good to peruse and review the photographs I have made in the past few weeks. I found it satisfying and stimulating to work on them and to share a couple of images during my tutorial yesterday.

In this image [provisionally titled: 12 10 12] I explored juxtaposing/ contrasting a sublime sunset with ongoing issues of social justice/concern. This is referencing our lack of true engagement with suffering and injustice that we learn of through the news. In this image I used a daily email of the news digest [from the Guardian] for the same day as that of the sunset.

Having discussed this yesterday, with both my tutor and another MA student, it has crystallised and progressed my thoughts. I now am more aware of the difficulties in using text in this way; if the text is too obvious it runs the risk of making the work too didactic and closing down the possible readings of the work; but, if the text is too subtle it becomes too difficult or impossible to read. I am thus now minded to working on making a diptych with any text being limited – perhaps only to the title[s].

I can envisage the diptych being made of two large [ i.e. in the region of 90cm by 120cm] prints hung close together one showing sublime uninhabited landscape and the other showing some grotty doorway or car park. This second image would be of also of a local location known to be a place of shelter for a homeless rough sleeper. I have chosen this line of enquiry as my previous research into human trafficking revealed that homelessness is not only an issue for victims of trafficking who have escaped or been discarded, but it also forms a constituency from which traffickers recruit/ trick people into forced labour/ domestic servitude or sex slavery.

I have also started working on a meditative piece – a video of chocolate malted milk drink powder being slowly assimilated into the hot milk which gradually changes colour. The powder on the milk is gradually absorbs the milk and then sinks bit by bit into the milk before being completely assimilated, and on each occasion, thus far observed, it is unique sequence. I hope that this piece can accompany the diptych and that the three elements will play off one another.

Screen Printing 2012-06-21

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, June 26, 2012 17:42:22

I found it most therapeutic to spend the afternoon screen printing.

It was good to practice – both mixing the dye and medium to get the right tonality; and the technical aspects of making prints. I was pleased that I was able to further develop my technical skills.

By spending the afternoon making prints I felt somewhat demotivated and re-energised after struggling rather for most of the day.

This reminded me of the personal importance of making work to my practice and more general wellbeing.

Etching Workshop 2012-06-21

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, June 26, 2012 12:27:01

Following my tutorial I found it helpful to make a further print [and secondary impression on tissue]; this provided me with some reflective space that allowed me to consider further what had been discussed at the tutorial.

I was reminded of how in the past I have found it useful to use the making of work as a tool for thinking and reflecting on discerning how to further progress my work.

It was also encouraging to examine and collect the three prints that I had made a couple of days earlier.

Etching Workshop 2012-06-19

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, June 20, 2012 20:14:03

I found it satisfying to spend the morning making three more prints together with “offset” prints on tissue paper from each of the 3 prints.

I was also encouraged by the prints that I had made last week now that they were all dry; so I am looking forward to collecting the 3 new prints tomorrow [Thursday 21 June].

I have also found a few used boxes that I might be able to use to house the prints, duly completed with the details of each of the gleaning visits to the beach.

Etching Workshop 2012-06-14

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Mon, June 18, 2012 11:30:55

I enjoyed making my first prints from the plate I had finished preparing a week earlier.

I was pleased with the proof so I continued to print several copies as I intend to use the prints as a log on which I will record the details of each of my gleaning visits to Felixstowe beach. I used a number of offcuts of paper as I intend to trim the prints to be only a little larger than the plate. This enabled me to experiment with different types of paper and for future work I am attracted by the warmer off-white paper [e.g. this would be good to use for my litho print]. I was also able to experiment with the effect of producing two and then three prints from the same inked plate and also of producing, in effect an offset print, from the fresh print onto the ultra-thin backing paper [which can still be viewed as a non-mirror image through the paper]:

I would quite like to use this as the top, blank sheet of the log. I am thinking of using a simple small cardboard box to house the completed prints, possibly covered in old newspaper fragments to resonate with the finds; the top of the box could include a copy of the print, rather than it being the top sheet inside the box. I am looking forward to exploring this further when I have completed all the prints.

Etching Induction continued 2012-06-07

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, June 08, 2012 14:44:33

It was good to spend another morning going through the next stages of the etching process. By the end of the morning my plate was etched and cleaned – ready to make a proof:

I am looking forward to returning to the etching workshop to a proof print and then a series of prints.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, June 06, 2012 21:19:49

I have also been continuing to reflect on my initial draft proposal; this has confirmed my earlier conclusion that I need to plan how I can address these concerns during the next 4 teaching blocks and not merely the next one.

I have discerned divergent possible strategies for how to address the current unit:

1. I could focus on research looking at: social ethical issues, especially people trafficking; art and theology in dialogue, especially liberation theology and basis to the poor, this theological enquiry could also include undertaking a number of appropriate Biblical exegesis; and investigating the current art practice of artists whose work and/or practice has some resonance with my own.

2. I could focus on continuing to make experimental art work with a view to, at the end August, being in a position to discern the best media/ process to realise and present my art work next year; so that the subsequent time could be better focussed on working towards that outcome.

3. I could continue in both my practical and theoretical research with the aim of being in a position to be able to visualise the final outcome of realised work that will be exhibited in August next year.

I am concerned that [1.] would result in spending significantly less time on developing my studio practice; whereas [2.] would mean that I would not be addressing my need to improve my theoretical grounding; and [3.] does not seem to be focussed sufficiently.

I am thus continuing to reflect and to consider the way forward.

Etching Induction 2012-06-06

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, June 06, 2012 20:29:29

It has been good to spend the day undertaking the etching induction and to work on my first etching plate:

I am looking forward to continuing the induction and process tomorrow and hope to make my first prints. I am considering printing an edition [of say 30]; the individual which then be used to make a log to record each of the ongoing visits to the same stretch of beach to gather the detritus from human activity. These could form a work in their own right, or could be used as labels for each collection of finds. If it were the work I would consider whether to bind it as a log book or to display prints on the wall.

Poster Mock Up

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, June 05, 2012 18:47:51

I have found it satisfying and rewarding to work on my poster mock up [see also post 61 below] and I am intending also using this as the starting point for my etching.

For the etching I am considering using the above format but with my litho stone composition as the basis for the image rather than this photograph. I will have to give this further consideration during my induction tomorrow.

Current Artists

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 22:40:58

Over the last couple of days I have been reflecting on which “current artists” are working with similar concerns and influence/ inspire or resonate with my own work. The artists that I have thus far identified are [please click on artist to open either their website or an artist information page provided by a gallery]:

Mark Wallinger

Jeremy Deller

Noel Douglas

Douglas Fishbone

Peter Kennard (to 2001) and kennardphillipps (from 2002 to date[2012])

Dana Popa

Grayson Perry

Josh MacPhee

John Keane

Synopsis of Video

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 12:32:07

Below is a copy of the synopsis for my recent video piece:


Art Experiment: Dreaming of A Better World


Video, with sound [duration 4min 35sec] (2011-12)


Since autumn 2011 I have been documenting instances of paused TV/dvd/ iPlayer etc within my own domestic setting. Concurrently regularly returning to a specific 200 metre stretch of beach gathering detritus from human activity.

The images of the gathered rubbish are emblematic of how we mistreat one another. The audio seascape resonates with the ebb and flow of the human condition.

In the video, the juxtaposition between paused TV images and images of gleaned beach detritus is a metaphor for how we are preoccupied by the trivial, whilst we simultaneously damage our natural, and human, environment.

And here is the link to the video:-

Video – Art Expriment: Dreaming of a Better World

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 09:49:51

It has been good spending the last couple of weeks working on this video, adding photos documenting paused TV/video/iplayer that had not previously been included; all such images appearing in strict chronological order in the work – creating interesting relationships and apparent narratives.

I also added a couple of further images of collections of found detritus and changed the placings of some of the previously including photographs of detritus to take account of the additional images of paused screens. All the photographs of collected detritus appear in chronological order according to the date of their collection – but the two time lines have deliberately not been precisely synchronised, but rather deliberately spaced to create aesthetic and narrative interest.

I then went on to crop all the paused images to be the same size [in postcard proportions] so that the contrast between the paused images and the photographs would be more consistent and definite. The audio then had to be further readjusted to take account of the new duration etc.

It was also good to build on the work I had done on the pamphlet to produce a 100 word synopsis of the work.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 20:36:24

I have been pleased to be able to make some adjustments to the video and I now feel more satisfied with it.

The adjustments have included:

1] Adding some additional images of the collections of detritus. This means that most of the collections of gathered items are now represented within the video.

2] Adjusting the timing of a number of the images and the positioning of some of the images of detritus etc that had already been included; such that the video now seems to me to flow better.

3] Adjusting the size of the rendered output to 1080 by 540, and making the images of detritus etc fill the space but contrasting this to the images of paused TV/DVD etc fit within the space. This has made for an improved, more consistent contrast between them.

4] The sound has also been reviewed and adjusted so that the volume and fullness audio is decreased for a time and then fades out at the end of the work.

As I am now much more satisfied with the work to date I have published a low res version of the latest rendition of the video on youtube.

Felixstowe Beach 2012-05-02

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 20:03:41

It was good to return to the same stretch of beach after an interval of a few weeks. I was pleased with the range of finds – that included a roof tile; twine & rope; weathered fragments of textile, plastic and metal; and a partially inflated balloon that had lodged in the groyne.

Due to the weathered nature of many of the finds they seemed to contrast with the last visit; with many of the items on this occasion appearing to be flotsam and jetsam rather than of a more local origin.

I found this visit quite therapeutic and helped to encourage, motivate and re-energise me in my work. I hope to continue such visits, but now on a more infrequent basis, every few weeks, rather than on a weekly basis.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 14:44:37

This afternoon I have enjoyed continuing to work on my pamphlet and exploring positioning of the images and text in relation to one another including the reverse side of the paper – especially with regards to the title page and how the images are hinted at before the pamphlet is even opened, and how the title (in reverse) is partially visible above and below the image.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 10:48:26

It has been good to continue to work on this over the last few days, tweaking the text and experimenting with both, changing the size and positioning of the two images, and the positioning of the folds. I look forward to finishing my pamphlet later today.

I did contemplate uploading the pdf of my pamphlet to this blog, but currently I have decided against this, due to my preference for the physical object where the viewer has a choice of how to view it this ability is significantly reduced with a pdf.

I have maintained my desire not to make the pamphlet too precious, to avoid fetishisation, as this seems to better resonate with my current work – where I have sought not to beautify the detritus etc. Thus I have ratified my decision to make the pamphlets simply on a desk jet printer using economy printer paper, using fast draft print settings to, symbolically, use as little ink as possible.

Video & Pamphlet.

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Thu, April 26, 2012 11:16:29

It has been good to spend some time over the Easter break working on my video and on my pamphlet.

I was pleased to be able to combine a few threads in my approach, content and presentation of my pamphlet; so that it incorporates being folded out, some of my reflections and it seems to compliment the video. It was good to explore the use of different size text and the relationships between different panels as it was folded/unfolded – I did not want to loose this so this confirmed my choice of a printed pamphlet rather than an e-pamphlet.

I have enjoyed working on the video, I found it satisfying that it incorporates so much of the work I have been doing, whereas I was somewhat frustrated that the prints were only a small concentrated distillation. I did consider adding text – perhaps as a ticker feed listing dates and items of detritus; but at the moment I am enjoying utilising the found text – which I have emphasised by the use of timing – giving the viewer time to read and take in the text which seems to give extra emphasis and sense of meaning to following images. I am also pleased with the use of sound – the sound of the sea, the ebb and flow, seems to resonate well with the rest of the work.


Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Thu, April 05, 2012 16:28:35

Over the last couple of weeks I have continued to reflect on how to approach my pamphlet. Whilst helping my wife to adapt a liturgy for a seder meal I started to consider whether the pamphlet could be, or could include a litany that would express something of my motivation for the work. It could include an expressions of sorrow for injustice/ exploitation/misguided priorities and relevant Biblical verses concerning good stewardship and concern for social justice; (perhaps as an introduction or postscript) it would also be good to include some data from my research – perhaps some brief summary of items found week by week and the number of images made from documenting the instances of paused TV etc within my own domestic setting.

Felixstowe Beach [2012-03-21]

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, March 21, 2012 19:04:22

Today I was surprised by the change in weather on the beach, when I set off and up to 100m or so it was a lovely sunny afternoon, but on the beach it was 3degrees cooler with a heavy sea mist, which I observed as I approached the beach from inland. This is the first time I have observed this phenomena on this beach despite numerous visits dating back over a year, with regular, frequent visits since November to gather detritus. I was further surprised to find that the tide was at the lowest I have yet observed, retreating a further 2 or 3m than I had previously observed. Despite all this the sea was extremely calm, with very little wind, and the strand line was not very obvious. Furthermore, unusually, none of the seaweed that I saw was entwined intwine or thread. This was in stark contrast to my previous visit [Sat 10-03-2012] where I had gathered one of the largest amounts of detritus, including a large entwined bundle that included thick plastic packing twine; where as this time I found probably the least amount of detritus to date.

Of the detritus that I did find today, a large proportion appeared to be local litter rather than jetsam and flotsam, although some of that was also found such as some fragments of glass and fragments of polystyrene packaging which appeared to be on the strand line. Thus for once it was more apparent whether the source was local/ blown in, or swept in by the tide. However this still seemed to resonate with the situation of migrant peoples, perhaps some have settled locally, whereas other may be recent arrivals – this seems to particular resonate with the gypsy communities shown in last night’s documentary.

Stone Lithography Induction [2012-03-20]

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, March 21, 2012 18:09:49

The morning was spent receiving a demonstration by CR of the whole process. This was far more involved than I had anticipated with numerous steps. The whole process together with the porous limestone seemed very organic, with each step something could happen that could effect the final print. The German mine has just restarted production of the stones after a number of decades.

In the afternoon it was good to try the process for myself, grinding the stones was time consuming but therapeutic, so it was a little nerve wracking to commit a drawing to the stone after all the preparatory work. I used the sketch for my screen print as the initial basis for my work [just beach/sea portion] and then included a tear/raindrop reflecting the scene, and a window in the sky [homage to Magritte] showing a view of a rubbish dump. When I used the stay wet ink it left more ink than expected – [as I think I had let the stone tryout too much before applying the ink] but once washed off I was happy with the effect as it seemed to me to resonate with oil pollution seaside oil pollution. I look forward to printing it in due course.

I photographed the work that I had done on the stone:

Saturday 2012-03-10

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Mon, March 12, 2012 21:10:40

It was good to spend the morning reviewing, labelling and photogrgarphing the bags of detritus from human activity since the completion of RiPu i.e. bags of finds from the following visits to the same 200m stretch of Felixstowe Beach:








I intend to photograph the content of each bag at a later date in the same box that was used in order to photograph the the contents of each bag that I had gathered from 11 November 2011 to 8 January 2012 – this might be done as part of my preparation for the forthcoming interim group crit [2012-03-22].

In the afternoon I again returned to Felixstowe Beach. The tide was the lowest that I have so far encountered in my work gathering detritus from Felixstowe Beach. Two items stood out from the finds on this occasion:

1. On the beach within a meter of the sea I found a substantial coil of fishing thread with a clip on one end and a hook on the other.

2. In the other 100m segment near the groyne, on the strand line there was a large bundle of jetsam and flotsam tangled together with natural vegetation.

In addition it was interesting to observe on the adjacent area of the beach, just outside my designated 200m stretch, there was a pile of hand painted rocks with a handwritten note in a childish hand that stated 5p for large ones and 2p for small ones. Strangely, this seemed to resonate with my work; in that it combines the natural with human intervention.

Thursday 2012-03-08 Screen Printing

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Sat, March 10, 2012 10:56:14

It was good to review my prints from last week to consider colour, and positioning of the various elements. I was attracted by the effect of the misprinted right hand edge of the photograph where I had not applied sufficient pressure – but with the bottle over printed it seemed to add depth to the bottle and make it stand out more.

I was encouraged that I was able to print more consistently and that I was able to at least partially recreate the previous misprint. On subsequent further review the photograph is somewhat darker than I would really like so next time I will try adding more medium to create a lighter tonality.

Following my tutorial where I discussed the print I made last week [as at that time I had just printed the photograph and the bottle elements] I decided not to print the text [PowerGreed] on the bottle as this dilutes the contrast between the bleakness of the photograph and the warmth of the handwritten sign.

I am now considering making a series of prints to act as labels or signage or motifs for each discreet collection of detritus from human activity gathered from the beach. This could be the same print and hand painted date, or it could be the same sign and beach but with different elements from that occasion overprinted – or a photograph of the collections of all the gathered element overprinted – perhaps as a bright monotone printed element.

Tuesday 6-3-12 Home

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 06, 2012 18:16:27

I have been struggling somewhat for the last few weeks; especially the last couple of weeks. I have had significantly less motivation and have been feeling more anxious. I have still been thinking about how to develop my work – video or print or 3d. I have continued to document instances of paused TV/DVD etc in my own domestic setting – although this has been largely on BBC iplayer etc since 20-2-12. I am still trying to discern the best way to work the various element together, of found objects, documenting the found objects and the act of gathering, the images of the coast and the documenting of paused tv; my screen printing are an attempt to combine some of these elements.

I has also been good to watch the culture show special about David Hockney‘s Bigger than life exhibition covering the whole of the Royal Academy; I found it especially interesting to learn something of how he had made the large multi panel paintings and videos. It was also enlightening to hear his intent behind the making of these landscape works – that it makes the viewer contemplate scenes that would not usually be especially noteworthy.

Saturday 3-3-12 Felixstowe Beach

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 06, 2012 18:13:43

I was surprised at how much lower the tide was today than during my brief visit just an hour later yesterday afternoon. The sea was rougher than previous couple of visits, but I found fewer items on the beach this afternoon, despite there being more of the beach not underwater today.

Wednesday 29-2-12 NUCA

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 06, 2012 18:12:52

It was good to spend a day working on my screen-prints, but it was somewhat frustrating to still be getting used to the technical issues and I was unable to make a print that I was completely satisfied with – so I am hoping to spend some more time working on further prints next Thursday. I am also intending reviewing all the print I have made so far to review the composition, eg where to position the bottle and the size of gap between the coastal image and the text notice, and the choice of colours so that I can try to discern the best way forward for my next printing session. It was good to have the resonance of using newsprint to make a number of prints observed by one of my peers on the course.

It was also good to view the exhibition venue for the Bishop’s prize at Norwich Cathedral and to learn that there will be a show reel for the selected video works. It was also good to see the display cabinets and I could visualise that this could be an options for displaying some of the found objects.

Sunday 26-2-12 Felixstowe Beach

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 06, 2012 18:11:51

This afternoon the tide was again very high, but the area was extreemly busy with dog walkers, families and shoppers, but no people fishing. Sepite it being calmer I found more items than in many of the recebt weeks. It thus sturck me that it is hard to predict the quantity or type of items found just from the tide and state of the sea – it is far more complex than that – again this seems to me to have resonances with the complexities of the migration and trafficking of people and the movement of refugees. As I gathered I was also reminded of a recent conversation with some of my peers about my work – and their rersponse that my separate bags of items for each occaision was creating a sort of diary.

Sunday 19-2-12 Felixstowe Beach

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, March 06, 2012 18:08:53

Strangely a lot calmer but a lot more rubbish on the beach this afternoon.

Felixstowe Beach 2012-02-15

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Wed, February 15, 2012 20:36:01

Today I was struck by how rough the sea was and at how I had learnt to recognise the sound of the sea, whilst approaching the [out of sight] beach I remarked that it seamed to be high tide – this was merely from the sound of the sea, and so it transpired.

I also realise, having made weekly visits for four months now, that I am finding it easier to find items of human detritus, such as fragments of polystyrene, clear plastic, half buried thread entwined in seaweed etc. I seem to have learnt to recognise such items more readily and to be able to better distinguish them from stone/ shell/ seaweed etc.

So if such items are a sort of metaphor for migrant peoples, why are we and the authorities not better at recognising those truly in need, those who are genuinely in need of asylum and those who have been trafficked and are thus really victims rather than criminals? It brings back to mind the moving theatrical work that I viewed as part of the launch of Ipswich Town of Sanctuary back in the autumn – where the narrative was all the more disturbing for knowing that it was using the actual words of those who had sought asylum etc.

Felixstowe 2012-02-04

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Sun, February 05, 2012 16:09:49

I returned to the same 200m stretch of Felixstowe beach yesterday [4 Feb] to continue gathering detritus from human activity. I was surpassed that there were not more people around, and that there were no people line fishing [especially as the weather forecast for the next day was far worse, and indeed when I returned earlier today despite there being snow on the beach there were several people line fishing].

Once again there were several reman at of thread/twine/rope as well as an old toy, litter, and a possible stone age tool.

I was again reminded of the variety of objects, the potential range of their (unknown) points of origin, and the difference in time that has elapsed since the items were lost or discarded.

It was good to be able to collect so much twine etc as this is a real hazard to wildlife and can entrap a fleeing bird in its nest; I was thus reminded of part of my original motivation following a powerful film on Autumn Watch, that documented the freeing of entrapped fledgling birds.

This, not for the first time, seemed to resonate with something of the situation that displaced or trafficked or migrant peoples may find themselves in. Entrapped by promises of a better of safer life but ending up in fear of the lives or fear for their loved ones; or simply trapped by circumstances and unable to return to their family. This in turn reminded me of a recent BBC documentary that explored the predicament of migrant workers sleeping rough in Peterborough.

This time, perhaps because of the freezing temperatures and that my partner was photographically documenting something of my gleaning, I was more aware of the performative dimension to my work. Having perused photographs from several visits, this sense of performance seems to be underlined by the fact that I have normally been wearing the same coat and have usually used an orange bag in which to collect my finds.

I contemplated publicising this so that people could watch the performance; but on further consideration I concluded that this could potentially distort the work – if it was widely known when and where I would be collecting the detritus from human activity their would be a risk that some would deliberately leave items to be “found” – this could not only distort the art work but could be seen as irresponsibly encouraging people to litter the beach; whereas I hope that a positive byproduct of the work might be to encourage people to at least carefully gather all their own rubbish and to properly dispose of it, if not to gather at least one additional item so that all work together to not only maintain, but to improve that local habitat.

Reflections 2012-01-31

Art Practice -Work In Progress Posted on Tue, January 31, 2012 19:52:55

As I have been further reflecting on both streams of my experimental work I wonder whether a better soundtrack – if one is needed – for the slide show would be the sound of the sea recorded at the location that I keep returning to, to gather detritus from human activity.

I am also contemplating using some images of those items &/or the location &/or the act/performance of gleaning in a future rendition of the work.